How he became so skinny:
Mudpie had ended up at a pack station (a place where they give anyone who pays a trail ride in a long string of horses), where he was badly neglected and, quite frankly, abused. The conditions were appalling. Three horses (new to the place) had died there. One was ridden to death, and I do mean that literally. Another died of an impaction colic (she was extremely underweight as well). And a third died when she was cornered by the other horses (there would be about 9 in a small pen) and crashed through the hazardous fencing. It was a bad situation, needless to say.
So I had known him before he was sold to that place (no one knew what would happen), and I fought for him every single day that he was there. They wouldn't take money, they wanted a horse to replace him. No matter how morally wrong that felt, I searched for three months for a horse to replace him. I almost had one, once, but she became mysteriously ill the day of her "test ride." And when that summer was over and I had almost given up... BAM, they found a mare and traded them out. And I got my Mudpie!
I won't name names to protect the, er, not-so-innocent, but there's a special place in hel
l reserved for the people who did this to Mudpie and do this the horses and mules that remained.